In my mind, bedtime should be an easy, orderly affair. Everyone goes upstairs to put on their pajamas. They all take turns brushing their teeth. Everyone gets a drink and finds a stuffed animal to sleep with. One child picks out the music to play while falling asleep. Brian prays with them, and I kiss them goodnight, cover them, and go about putting Alaine to bed in a quiet house.
The fact is that the reality is quite different surprises me almost every night.
|The chaos that is our refrigerator|
So then it was time for bed. Owen brushed his teeth in 20 seconds flat and Brian had to send him to do it again...twice. Benjamin pooped in his diaper...for the fourth time...so I had to change him again. Alaine was rubbing her eyes and trying to fall asleep, but I didn't want to put her to bed because I knew the hoopla would wake her up. Brian was calling through the house asking whose turn it was to pick music. Gavin and Owen started swinging for the bunk bed rails, saying that they were monkeys. Maddie decided she needed a different something to sleep with...and, oh...she had forgotten to get a drink. Finally, kisses were given and lights turned out. Alaine had gotten her second wind and wasn't sleepy anymore so I took her downstairs to start the laundry while Brian took a shower. In the meantime, the boys had a fight over the covers and one yelled, "You're a robber!" to the one who was hogging the blanket.
It is nights like these that makes me wonder if all my work as a mama is paying off. Shouldn't these kids that I spend every day shaping, training, and molding be a little more orderly? Shouldn't they know this routine by now? Shouldn't they be able to sit still? Shouldn't they shush when I'm talking? Shouldn't they settle into bed without a ruckus?
Then I remember earlier in the day when Owen sat in the floor with Alaine, holding her hand and whispering in her ear. I remember when Gavin and Maddie helped me dry the dishes and then said, "What else do you need, Mama?" I think about Benjamin bringing Alaine a pile of toys every morning and the rush to the door when Brian comes home every night. I think of the get well cards that are made every time someone bumps their knee or has a stuffy nose.
Sometimes I need to remember that kids are kids, not little adults.
And sometimes I need a reminder that being neat and quiet takes a back seat to raising Godly people.